Faced with protests, China threatens and sends weak opening signals

Deployed in large numbers, in Shanghai and other Chinese cities, the police continue to challenge the demonstrators while the authorities suggest a slight relaxation of the zero covid policy.

By Simon Leplâtre (Shanghai, Correspondence)

Under pressure from the angry street for several days against the zero covid strategy of power, the Chinese authorities seem to adopt the strategy of the carrot and the stick. The carrot is that of a discreet change of tone on certain crucial points of the fight against the pandemic. If the authorities continue to defend the policy of “zero dynamic” (flexible), implemented for months, the announcement, Tuesday, November 29, of a working group to accelerate the vaccination of seniors has been greeted with enthusiasm by investors.

In addition, several press articles surprised the Chinese by presenting the COVVI-19 as a benign disease, and by emphasizing the need to pass the lives of the inhabitants before the drastic protective measures. In parallel, the stick is clearly agitated against the thousands of protesters who have gathered in at least twenty Chinese cities in recent days.

Tuesday evening, the main security body of the regime thus took a threatening tone, calling to “firmly suppress the infiltration and sabotage activities of hostile forces, to resolutely fight illegal and criminal acts that disrupt the social order, and to effectively maintain the general stability of the company, “according to a statement published at the end of a meeting of the Central Commission for Legal and Political Affairs of the Chinese Communist Party. The police, deployed in large numbers in the streets of Shanghai and other Chinese cities, has already stopped dozens of people, and carry out control operations on smartphones to identify protesters.

Prepare the ‘Stage after

On the same day, the National Health Commission spoke of protests in half a word, by having local governments bear responsibility. “The recent problems reflected by the masses are not mainly about pandemic and control,” said Chen Youquan, a senior commission official at a press conference. He estimated that dissatisfaction mainly aimed at the excessive application of these rules by local officials. An indication that Beijing does not intend to abandon its zero -term zero covid strategy. But also an analysis at least questionable of the protest movement, during which political claims for freedom of expression, and in some cases calls for the resignation of the leader, Xi Jinping, were involved in criticisms on zero strategy COVID.

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/Media reports cited above.